What Is a Mesothelioma Claim?
A mesothelioma claim is a type of legal action that explains why a claimant (the person filing the claim) deserves money from the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products.
Mesothelioma claims explain:
- How, when, and where the claimant was exposed to asbestos
- What disease(s) the claimant developed as a result (usually mesothelioma)
- Which manufacturers’ products exposed the claimant to asbestos
- How much money is needed to cover the claimant’s medical costs
Video Summary: Dennis, a victim of mesothelioma, talks about his journey from diagnosis to filing an asbestos claim. View Transcript.
The specialist called me one night at 5:30 and I thought, “this is odd time for them to be calling me.”
He said, “Dennis, I have the results for your test.”
And my reaction was, “Oh, good. What do you got?”
He didn’t speak for like five or seven seconds and I thought, “Oh my god, this is it.”
And he said, “The results from the biopsy are you have mesothelioma, you’ve been around asbestos.”
They determined I had peritoneal mesothelioma, that means it’s mostly in my stomach.
I asked her, “How long am I going to live, doctor?”
She told me, “I see five to ten years and I will hope for ten to fifteen.”
So I thought, “Oh my god, I just lose my dad three months earlier, now I got cancer.”
I had fun being a mechanic. The dust from brake jobs, yeah there’s a lot, especially in the hub of the wheel; got to get all the dust away so you can put in the new stuff.
I knew there was asbestos in it but I didn’t know it was harmful. I didn’t know it would cause cancer.
Do I call the attorneys? I didn’t know I would get these benefits. It’s helped complete our – make our living financially, we would have been in Hell in high water without these benefits.
I had a legal team on my side in two or three days I believe, and I was very comfortable.
They were real people and they came to my house. They treated me like a person, not a number. They took care of every step and they explained to me the steps that would be taken and as time went on, they needed to they would call me on the phone and let me know and it was a good experience.
If someone was diagnosed with mesothelioma, as I was. I would tell them, first of all, you need help like I did. We were given something we were never warned about, that asbestos was in the things we worked with.
They made it very personal for me in a good way. For my wife, and kids and my family, they really helped me and they treated me like a person.
Manufacturers of asbestos-containing products realized in the early 1900s that asbestos exposure could cause long-term health issues, but they hid the truth so they could continue making money. However, by the 1980s, the general public had realized that asbestos was the only known cause of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer with no cure.
Once the truth came out, thousands of people filed legal claims against these manufacturers. Today, mesothelioma claims can be filed by almost anyone diagnosed with this deadly cancer.
Types of Mesothelioma Claims
There are several types of mesothelioma claims. Depending on the company you wish to file against, some claim types will be more useful than others.
For example, major manufacturers of asbestos-containing products could not keep up with the large number of lawsuits, so they declared bankruptcy and established trust funds. Bankrupt companies with trust funds can no longer be sued, but victims can receive compensation through an asbestos trust fund claim.
If the company did not file for bankruptcy — and is still in business — then they can probably be sued. A lawsuit is a legal claim that seeks compensation directly from the manufacturers that harmed you.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Claims
Personal injury mesothelioma claims must prove how major manufacturers of asbestos-containing products caused your illness.
This is done by presenting:
- A medical diagnosis of mesothelioma
- A doctor’s written statement linking your diagnosis to asbestos exposure
- Work history (if you worked at a company that used asbestos-containing products)
- Product history (if you used a product that contained asbestos)
Once the claim is submitted, an asbestos lawsuit begins. During these lawsuits, lawyers representing you will try to get compensation from major manufacturers of asbestos-containing products. Your lawyer and the manufacturers’ lawyers will build cases and try to reach an agreement.
Money from personal injury claims may cover the costs of medical treatments and other expenses, such as the emotional toll brought by a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Wrongful Death Claim
You may also be able to file a claim if someone you loved died due to mesothelioma. This type of claim initiates a wrongful death lawsuit.
Mesothelioma claims blame major manufacturers of asbestos-containing products for the victim’s death, as mesothelioma is almost always fatal.
Mesothelioma claims for wrongful death can help you and your family pay off the victim’s lingering medical bills and related expenses (such as burial and funeral costs).
“Compared with other cancers, the palliative care needs and experiences of people with mesothelioma pose unique complexities due to the rarity of the disease, the rapidity of decline, and the industrial nature of the disease, which is associated with the need for a legal inquiry by a coroner and protracted compensation claims processes.”
Asbestos Trust Fund Claim
Larger manufacturers of asbestos-containing products declared bankruptcy and established trust funds, which legally prevented them from facing any more asbestos-related lawsuits. If the company that exposed you to asbestos is bankrupt, you may be able to seek compensation through an asbestos trust fund claim.
According to the RAND Institute for Civil Justice, asbestos trust funds contain millions — or even billions — of dollars to pay current and future mesothelioma victims.
Trust funds rank different asbestos-related diseases based on eight “disease levels.” Mesothelioma claims are ranked the highest and award the greatest amount of compensation.
Asbestos trust funds review claims either through an expedited review or an individual review. Each process has its own criteria that must be met.
Through an expedited review, the trust fund determines if a claim is valid through a set of requirements. From there, the claim is paid based on a fixed value.
Expedited reviews may allow quicker payouts to claimants. Those operating the trust funds make the requirements for expedited review claims publicly available so all the needed evidence can be gathered ahead of time. If a claim meets all the pre-set requirements, it will not be disputed.
Fixed values from expedited reviews may not pay enough to cover all of a victim’s medical expenses, so, in these cases, the victim may request an individual review.
Through an individual review, the evidence is studied and the claim is then assigned a monetary value. Those who request an individual review typically want to get more money from an asbestos trust fund.
However, the new value may be higher or lower than the fixed value established by a trust fund, according to the RAND Institute for Civil Justice.
Individual reviews also take longer to process than expedited reviews, as each case must be studied in greater detail to determine an accurate claim value. More in-depth medical and work records are usually needed as part of the individual review process too.
Benefits of Mesothelioma Claims
Through a mesothelioma claim, victims may receive legal compensation from manufacturers of asbestos-containing products. This compensation can cover some (or all) of their medical bills and other expenses.
Compensation can pay for:
- Lost wages if the victim can no longer work
- Travel costs
Mesothelioma claims also force the manufacturers to take responsibility for their actions. Rather than protect the general public, the entire asbestos industry allowed their workers and consumers to be poisoned just to keep making money.
Roughly 27 million workers were exposed to asbestos from 1940 to 1979, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR).
Manufacturers of asbestos-containing products betrayed the trust of the American people, and they deserve to pay the medical costs of those they harmed.
How to File A Mesothelioma Claim
The mesothelioma claims process generally follows three steps.
- Gathering evidence: This evidence includes medical records and work history. The evidence has to show how asbestos exposure caused the victim to develop mesothelioma.
- Determining manufacturers responsible: Successful claims trace back mesothelioma to the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products. For example, the victim may have worked for one of these companies or used the asbestos-based products they made.
- Filing the claim: Mesothelioma claims can be filed if the companies in question are still in business or if they established asbestos trust funds.
Those looking to file mesothelioma claims should work with experienced asbestos lawyers who know how to properly build and file strong claims. Without a skilled lawyer’s help, simple mistakes can derail a claim.
Mesothelioma Claim Amounts
Mesothelioma claim amounts can vary depending on what type of claim is filed.
Here is a breakdown of mesothelioma claim amounts by type:
- Asbestos trust fund claims: Trust fund claims typically award around $180,000 to mesothelioma victims, according to the RAND Institute of Civil Justice. However, trusts also need to keep funds available to pay future claimants, so they may only be able to pay a percentage of what they actually owe to current claimants.
- Mesothelioma settlements: Mesothelioma settlements award $1 million on average, according to recent industry reports. This range represents the combined amount of settlements from all the manufacturers named in the lawsuit, who each negotiate smaller settlements with a mesothelioma lawyer.
- Mesothelioma trial verdicts: Trial verdicts may award plaintiffs with millions — or nothing at all — from a specific manufacturer or manufacturers. For example, a former Eastman Kodak engineer received $8 million from a mesothelioma trial verdict. However, a claimant who loses a trial may receive no money.
These claim amounts are general in nature. You may receive more or less compensation through your case. A lawyer can provide a more accurate estimate of your mesothelioma claim value.
Statute of Limitations on Mesothelioma Claims
Every state prevents legal action after a certain amount of time to prevent fraud. This is done through laws known as statutes of limitations.
Statutes of limitations vary by state, with most limiting mesothelioma claims to 2-3 years after a diagnosis.
Those looking to file a legal claim should work with an experienced lawyer, as statutes of limitations can vary significantly with each case due to different laws and other factors.
For example, if a person was exposed to asbestos in one state but now lives in another, they may need to file their claim within the first state’s statutes of limitations.
Victims cannot file mesothelioma claims after the statute of limitations passes in their state.
Working with asbestos lawyers can help victims avoid complications and properly file claims on time.
Mesothelioma Insurance Claims and Other Benefits
Other than legal claims, those with mesothelioma may be able to receive compensation through different types of insurance and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Those with mesothelioma often qualify for insurance payouts since the cancer requires intensive — and expensive — medical treatments.
Types of insurance claims include:
- Private insurance: Over 67% of the U.S. population had private health insurance as of 2018, according to the Census Bureau. Mesothelioma victims should see what their policy covers to determine how much they will need to pay out of pocket.
- Medicare and Medicaid: These government-run insurance programs cover the health care expenses for seniors and people with lower incomes, respectively. These programs may or may not cover all the expenses associated with mesothelioma.
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): This government-sponsored form of insurance is available to those under the age of 65, provided they worked long enough to qualify.
Though not every expense may be covered, these insurance programs can go a long way to help victims afford mesothelioma treatment.
Workers’ compensation can actually limit other forms of compensation a victim may receive through a settlement or a trial verdict through liens. Liens allow the insurers who fund workers’ compensation to get a cut of any money awarded through legal action.
To learn more about workers’ compensation claims — and how they can affect the compensation you receive — consult with a mesothelioma lawyer today.
From the 1930s to the early 1980s, the U.S. military relied on many asbestos-containing products without realizing they were dangerous. In turn, veterans who developed mesothelioma due to their military service can file for VA benefits.
VA Benefits include:
- Disability compensation
- Medical care from VA-affiliated mesothelioma experts
- Survivor benefits for spouses and loved ones
- Extra compensation to afford in-home care and other health needs
Applying for VA benefits can be challenging and time-consuming, but mesothelioma lawyers can help you gather the right information and recommend a Veterans Service Officer (VSO) who can help you file a claim.
Common Questions About Mesothelioma Claims
The mesothelioma claims process can be hard to understand because there are so many factors that can affect the value of a claim. Below, get answers to important questions about mesothelioma claims.
Who can file a mesothelioma claim?
Anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma can file a personal injury claim. Family members can also file a claim if their loved one died due to mesothelioma or if the victim is too sick to file a claim on their own.
How long do mesothelioma claims take?
This depends on the type of claim you file. For example, you may start to receive money from a legal claim that reaches a settlement in under a year’s time. This process can vary with each manufacturer of asbestos-containing products that you filed against.
A lawyer can give you a better estimate as to how long your mesothelioma claim will take as the legal process moves forward.
Can families file mesothelioma claims after the death of a loved one?
Yes, families can file mesothelioma claims even if their loved one died. They can either file a wrongful death lawsuit or claims with asbestos trust funds.
Also, if a person with mesothelioma files a lawsuit or a trust fund claim — but dies before the case reaches a conclusion — the family can continue the legal action.
However, family members only have a certain amount of time to file a claim after their loved one dies due to statutes of limitations. The immediate family should work with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer to make sure their claim is filed on time.
Do I need a lawyer to file a mesothelioma claim?
Yes, as it is almost impossible to file a successful claim without one.
Filing any type of legal claim is extremely complex if you are not a lawyer. Even a simple mistake could cause your claim to be delayed or thrown out. This is not in your best interest because you only have a certain amount of time to file claims due to the statute of limitations.
Mesothelioma lawyers have the resources, skills, and experience to guide you through the claims process and avoid errors.
Mesothelioma lawyers know how to:
- Collect evidence and build a strong case
- Identify which companies may have caused your illness
- File mesothelioma claims within statutes of limitations
- Represent their client’s best interests
- Get their clients the most compensation from a claim
The best mesothelioma lawyers charge no upfront fees and almost all of the legal work that comes with filing a claim. Because of this, you have nothing to lose — and everything to gain — by working with one.
Get Help With Your Mesothelioma Claim
The manufacturers of asbestos-containing products knew they were putting hardworking people like you in harm’s way, but they continued to make and sell their goods for decades without disclosing the health risks. They, not you, should be the ones to pay for your medical treatments and other expenses if you developed mesothelioma.
You can take the power back from these manufacturers by filing a mesothelioma claim. In the process, you can rest easier knowing you — and your family — will be financially secure.
Download our free mesothelioma guide today to learn more.